Home Read Classic Album Review: Willie Nelson | Crazy: The Demo Sessions

Classic Album Review: Willie Nelson | Crazy: The Demo Sessions

These bare-bones early recordings capture the pure genius of the country legend.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


“My demos were always better, I thought, than the records that came out,” claims Willie Nelson in the liner notes to Crazy. When a man’s right, he’s right — and after even a cursory listen to this set of long-lost Willie rarities, it’s obvious he’s right.

Crazy: The Demo Sessions contains more than a dozen bare-bones, lo-fi demonstration recordings that were cut by the fledgling songwriter in the early ’60s and discovered in a mislabelled tape box a few years back. It’s not hard to imagine the shiver that went up the spine of the person who discovered these treasures. From the plain-spoken melancholy of Willie’s original take on Crazy and the laid-back twang of The Local Memory to the solo acoustic guitar versions of the aching Three Days and I’ve Just Destroyed The World, these cuts are primal Willie, without the strings and backup vocals and high-falutin’ arrangements that polluted the gripping purity of his sound. But they don’t come any more gripping than the stark Opportunity to Cry, which has one of the best country lyrics of all time: “If I saw you, would I kiss you / Or wanna kill you on sight?” All country songwriters should be so crazy.